Wi-Fi and sleep

The last 20 years or so has seen some amazing technology enter our lives, and become staples of every day living. Think smart phones, iPad, Bluetooth, smart tv's etc.; Wi-Fi sits atop the list for technology that has enhanced our lives at home. But we treat it like the tv or a bedside light that is plugged in but not on. It's not quite the same!

An experiment was conducted showing that exposure to a 2-Hz pulse-modulated radio frequency and a 2-Hz pulsed magnetic field altered brain physiology.

"25 young healthy men were exposed at weekly intervals to three different conditions for 30 min before sleep. Cognitive tasks were also performed during exposure. The conditions were a 2-Hz pulse-modulated radio frequency field, a 2-Hz pulsed magnetic field, and sham.

Radio frequency exposure increased electroencephalogram power in the spindle frequency range. Furthermore, delta and theta activity (non-rapid eye movement sleep), and alpha and delta activity (rapid eye movement sleep) were affected following both exposure conditions."

"No effect on sleep architecture and no clear impact of exposure on cognition was observed."

Read Study here

This exposure was at a very low level and still managed to affect theta and delta brainwave activity; delta being the very low frequency brainwaves active in deep sleep.

So how could this affect sleep quality?

Lets compare it to the blue light emitted by your phone or computer screen. Some people experience difficulty falling asleep after using their phone or computer right up until bedtime.

The reason for this is that the light coming from your phone or computer screen is being interpreted as daylight by your brain and therefore your brain doesn't kick into sleep mode and produce the right amount of melatonin (melatonin being the hormone we all naturally produce that regulates our sleep-wake cycle), and keeps you awake.

A similar thing can happen with Wi-Fi. The brain can mistake these electromagnetic signals as light signals, which can cause the suppression of melatonin production.

It can also disrupt your sleep cycle and prevent you from going through your natural phases of sleep and therefore getting the restful sleep you need.

For those with insomnia, this could add fuel to the fire.

Consider Individual Difference

Some people are more sensitive than others to electromagnetic radiation; a condition called electro hypersensitivity.

Electro hypersensitivity may occur due to excessive exposures to EMF (electromagnetic fields) or EMR (electromagnetic radiation) from power lines, mobile phone transmission towers, mobile & digital cordless phones, computers, fluorescent lights and various electrical tools & equipment.

Just like some people can drink coffee before bedtime and still go to sleep without a problem, while others suffer from insomnia if they consume caffeine in the afternoon or early evening.

It's also possible that there are people whose sleep is more sensitive to Wi-Fi than others.
You could make the assumption that those people would be the same people who have existing difficulty sleeping, a history of poor sleep, or who are light sleepers and easily disturbed by external factors.

A common theme is falling asleep easily after reading or watching on a  mobile phone or any device but then having a disrupted sleep - waking up after one or two hours and struggling to get back to sleep. This could also apply to having Wi-Fi humming away in the background. Your brain will identify the Wi-Fi similar to how it recognises blue light and potentially trigger a waking moment.

At Tone Down Tech we think it's a no brainer. How can we possibly know where we sit in regards to sensitivity to Wi-Fi and how it might be influencing our sleep?

And more importantly, how can we know If our children have any sensitivity or If Wi-Fi might be influencing some life-long sleep patterns from an early age?

Take risk out of the equation. Turn Wi-Fi off while you're sleeping!